The Golden Temple, popularly known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, plays an integral role in the rich history of Punjab. In fact this religious heritage stands out as the holiest pilgrimage site not only for the Sikhs but also for the people of all religions.
This biggest religious place of Sikhs, which has many advantages in itself, is the main attraction for people coming from far and wide. Whether it is about tasting the langar or about its unique structure, the Golden Temple is really something special.
Amritsar is one of the most revered places in the world and is associated with the history of Sikhism. It was established in the 16th century. Its name is derived from Amrit Sarovar (pool of nectar) which houses the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh pilgrimages.
When it comes to the history of this holy place, its foundation was laid by Sri Guru Ram Das ji in 1577 AD and on December 15, 1588, Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji who was the fifth Sikh Guru also started the construction of Sri Harmandir Sahib.
Amritsar has a rich history that includes many mythological and historical tales including the epic Ramayana. It is believed that the site called Rama Tirath was the hermitage of Maharishi Valmiki, where Sita gave birth to her twin sons, Luv and Kush.
Govindgarh Fort and Ram Bagh were built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh Empire. Although Jallianwala Bagh remains the most conscious monument to India’s freedom struggle.
The Khalsa College, established by visionary leaders in the early 20th century, made Amritsar a center of learning. Also a center of thriving industry since its inception, Amritsar is famous for its textiles, especially shawls, and its carpets.
Amritsar has gained tremendous popularity for its gourmet traditions; Particularly the dhabas (roadside food), which revolve around an incomparable list of dishes, irresistible kulchas, chola-bhathure, tandoori chicken and fried fish among others.
Amritsar is also a great tourist destination in Amritsar; Its ancient legends, historical monuments, places of worship, old markets, theater traditions and colorful festivals all serve as a window to its strong past.
Trips to the Harike Bird Sanctuary and the India-Pakistan border tour at Wagah are without equanimity with the nominees of this hospitable city while breaking bread or celebrating Diwali.
Information about Golden Temple Amritsar
The Golden Temple in Amritsar is one of the most revered religious centers in the country. The Golden Temple is also one of the most visited Gurudwaras, which people come from far and wide to see and visit. Not only Indian tourists, you can also see foreign tourists roaming here.
Sri Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple has played an integral role in the golden history of Punjab.
The Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh pilgrimages, is a major pilgrimage site for devotees from around the world, as well as, an increasingly popular tourist attraction.
The construction of Amrit Sarovar (pool of nectar) was started in 1570 by Guru Amar Das, the third Guru and completed by Guru Ram Das, the fourth Guru. His successor, Guru Arjun Dev, began work on the building in 1588 after inviting Mian Mir, a Sufi saint, to lay its foundation stone.
Before the construction of the temple, the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak used to meditate here. He also designed the entire architecture of Sri Harmandir Sahib. Construction began in 1581 and took about eight years to complete the work.
The temple is also called the Golden Temple because a 24-carat layer has been used here. Interestingly, the temple was not golden in the beginning.
In 1762, the heritage site was destroyed by Islamic rulers. Later the Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh rebuilt the entire place in marble and copper in 1809 and covered the sanctum sanctorum with gold foil in 1830.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh used only 7-9 layers of gold to build the Golden Temple. In this, over the course of a 4-year long renovation, 24 layers were used.
Talking about the gold used in the Golden Temple, more than 500 kg of gold has been used in it. All its gold coats were made by skilled artists from different parts of the country.
The main entrance is through a grand clock tower, which also houses the Central Sikh Museum, and provides stunning views of the temple and its reflection in Amrit Sarovar.
Another entry is through the splendid silver doorway of the beautifully decorated Darshani Deodi. It leads to the plateau which connects the holy place with the parikrama.
The lower façade of the Golden Temple, made of marble, lined with precious and semi-precious colored stones, is made using the pitra dura technique to create motifs. Within, the Guru Granth Sahib is kept in a room adorned with grand frescoes on the Granth Floor.
The parikrama is marked by many temples and monuments of spiritual and historical importance. These include the gilded chhatra of Dukhar Bhanjani Beri, Aath-thit Tirath, the monument to Baba Deep Singh and Gurdwara Lachi Ber.
Bari Baba Buddha, near Darshi Deori, is another revered site. Baba Buddha lived for a 120 years and had the opportunity to serve five gurus during his lifetime. He supervised construction work at Amrit Sarovar, and this ancient beri represents the spot where Baba Buddha sat with his tools.
Also complex is the seat of the Sikh temporal authority, the Akal Takht, founded in 1606 by Guru Hargobind, who felt that Sikhism required a martial period. The ground floor of the Akal Takht was ready by 1774, while the rest of the five-storey building was completed during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
The current building of the Takht is outdated recently as it was rebuilt after its destruction in 1983 during Operation Blue Star.
Stairs leading to the temple The stairs leading to the temple lead downstairs, while in other Hindu temples, the stairs lead up to the main temple complex. It is designed in a way that reflects the humble way of living.
The pond surrounding the Golden Temple is called Amrit Sarovar which means the nectar pool for the immortal. It is considered extremely sacred by the devotees and they believe that bathing in the holy water of the lake will purify their karma. It is also said that taking a dip in the lake also cures diseases.
Baba Deep Singh
Baba Deep Singh is one of the holiest martyrs of Sikhism. He swore to take his last breath at the Golden Temple and in 1757, he fought valiantly with the Afghan invader Jahan Khan with his army of 5000 men.
He continued to kill his enemies till the last breath and during that fierce battle his head was separated from the body, but to fulfill his oath and to die in this holy place, he reached there with his head in his hand.
The world’s largest langar is held at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Lakhs of people taste langar here every day and the food prepared in it is completely vegetarian.
This langar usually consists of rotis, lentils, vegetables and sweets. Keeping in mind the number of devotees, about 2 lakh rotis are prepared in this langar with modern machines.
It is considered to be the largest kitchen in the world, where about 25 thousand rotis are prepared in an hour. This langar provides langar service to the devotees 24 hours a day.
The most interesting thing is that all the food items served here are donated by the devotees.
The langar service never stops at the Golden Temple, due to which it is the world’s most community kitchen. Food is served to everyone here. As per records, more than 50000 meals are served daily in the temple! And on a special occasion or in any religious event, this number reaches one lakh or more.
There are two halls here, where 5000 people can sit together and eat langar at a time. The proof of cleanliness comes from the fact that each vessel is washed five different times.
Let us tell you that the practice of Sikh Langar was started by Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs.
There is complete arrangement for any person to stay in this Gurudwara for three days. Many rooms and halls have been built here, where pillows, blankets and sheets are provided for sleeping.
If you also go to visit the Golden Temple, then you can comfortably stay here for three days.
Places to visit in Amritsar
If you have been to the Golden Temple, then you can also visit many beautiful places around it. Wagah border is situated just an hour away from here. It feels very proud to see the patriotism and love between India and Pakistan here. While near it you can also visit Mata Devi Lal Mandir. The distance of this temple from Golden Temple is only 17 minutes.
Also you can see Akal Takht. It is one of the five Takhts of the Sikhs. It is said that people of Sikh religion going to Amritsar must visit the Akal Takht.
At the same time, the Durghiyana temple here is also worth seeing. Its popularity is no less than the Golden Temple. This temple is also known as Laxminarayan Mandir. This temple is situated just 1.5 km away from Amritsar station.
Apart from this, you can see Jallianwala Bagh located at a distance of one kilometer. Here you can comfortably spend 30-40 minutes. There is no entry fee to go here.
Sri Durgiana Temple
Shri Durgiana Temple is also known as Laxmi Narayan Temple. It is the next holiest temple in Amritsar after the Golden Temple. It looks like a golden temple to you. The main deity in the temple is Goddess Durga, however, it is also dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.
The temple is situated in the middle of a water body and also has a ghat where pilgrims can take a dip. It is believed that taking a dip in these holy waters washes away all the sins of your past lives.
It was originally constructed in the late 16th century, and again in the year 1921, it was renovated by Guru Harsai Mal Kapoor.
Mukteshwar Mahadev Temple
It is basically a cave temple situated on the banks of river Ravi, which has been carved out of a single hill. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple also houses idols of Lord Ganesha, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Lord Hanuman and Goddess Parvati.
It is said that when the Pandavas were expelled, they stayed here during this period. Since then this place has become revered by hundreds of worshipers.
If you want to visit this temple, then it is better if you come here before dusk and if you are coming here on Monday, you will get a chance to attend the special aarti of Shiva.
Mata Lal Devi Temple
Mata Lal Devi Temple, popularly known as Sheesh Mahal of Amritsar, is famous for its miraculous powers among Hindu pilgrims. The temple is dedicated to the female saint Lal Devi and is believed to be a miniature version of the popular Vaishno Devi temple in katra.
The temple is decorated with mirrors when the sun shines on them and the place is illuminated through many diyas. Idols of various deities are installed on the inner walls of the entire complex. As the devotees go inside the temple, they will find many artefacts, idols.
A man-made cave leads pilgrims to the temple of the goddess which can only be reached by crawling or fully reclined.
Akal Takht literally means ‘Throne of the Immortal’, with ‘Akal’ meaning timeless and ‘Takht’ meaning throne. It is given an important place in Sikhism with utmost importance to religious and political history. From here many inscriptions and sermons based on the principles of Sikhism are proclaimed.
It is one of the five Takhts or seats of power in Sikhism. Built by the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind and located within the Harmandir Sahib Gurdwara complex. The existing structure is a five-storey building, maintained with immaculate white marble and a gold-leaf dome.
The temple has idols of many deities, of which Radha-Krishna are the most prominent. A small shop also sells idols of deities, religious books and related items
Jallianwala Bagh is known for one of the brutal British scandals in the history of India. This pilgrimage site of revolutionary and sacrificial heroes is situated at a distance of one kilometer from the Golden Temple.
This garden is witness to the death of lakhs of innocent Indians. On 13 April 1919, the British fired indiscriminately on unarmed Indians here and put them to death.
Many people jumped into a well present there to escape the bullets. Even today, every person who comes to Amritsar does not forget to visit this place and pay tribute to the people who died.
Wagah is a village located on the Grand Trunk Road between Amritsar in India and Lahore in Pakistan, through which the border of the two countries passes. This is the designated place for crossing the border between India and Pakistan by land.
The distance from Amritsar to Wagah border is about 27 kms. This border is regularly opened for tourists.
A large number of people reach here to see the Beating Retreat. The soldiers of both India and Pakistan display their patriotism here with full enthusiasm.
Amritsar is a historical place situated in the heart of the city. It was built in the 17th century. Maharaj Ranjit Singh named this fort as Gobindgarh after Guru Gobind Singh.
This fort has been constructed with brick and lime. General Dyer went to Jallianwala Bagh from this fort and played a bloody game on 13 April 1919. It is said that there is an underground tunnel near the bloody gate of this fort, which leads to Lahore.
What is the best time to visit Golden Temple
If you are planning to visit Golden Temple in summer holidays, then do not even think about coming here at this time. Because it is very hot here at this time, so this time is not good for visiting here.
You can come here during the monsoon season from July to August. Otherwise the time from October to March is the best time to visit here.
How To Reach Golden Temple
If you are going from Delhi to Amritsar train or by road, then it will take around 9 hours whereas it will take only 1 hour to go by flight. If you are going to Golden Temple by air then here is Raja sansi Airport. It takes 15 minutes to reach Amritsar from the airport.
If you are going by road from Delhi then you can reach Amritsar by Grand Trunk Road. Along with this, if you are going by highway, then you can reach Amritsar even after passing through Karnal, Ambala, Khanna, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. Please tell that the distance of Pakistan from here is only 25 km.
Keep these things in mind before entering the Golden Temple
- Please cover your head with a handkerchief, dupatta or scarf.
- Wear the right decent clothes to visit the temple
- Wearing any dress above the knees is strictly prohibited.
- It is hot in Amritsar, so bring only cotton clothes with you to visit here. Here photography is allowed only till the lake, after which special permission has to be taken to take photos inside.
- It is forbidden to bring alcohol, cigarettes, meat and any kind of intoxicant with you here.
- Everyone should sit down and listen to the Gurbani happening inside the Darbar Sahib. It is believed that this is a way of paying respect to the Guru Granth Sahib.